My mom was a proud homemaker. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1941 from Louisiana State University. Now, before you giggle and say, 'oh, she got her Mrs. degree at LSU'...I'm here to set you straight! While in college, she became proficient in time management and family budgeting; studied health and nutrition; was schooled in food preparation with an emphasis on efficiency and perfection; became an EXCELLENT seamstress and tailor; learned the basics of child development; and to top it off, before she could graduate, she had to live one semester in the Home Demonstration House and be graded proficient (or not), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by the most feared and respected teacher around at that time, Iona Smith. As a 1978 graduate from LSU's Home Economics program, I kind of wish I had had that experience. Theirs was a brutal yet exceptional curriculum, at a time when the role of homemaker was respected and celebrated in society. I'd like to introduce you to my mom...
Job Title: homemaker
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Pay: $ 0.00
Job Responsibilities: cooked 3 balanced meals a day for a family of 5; made play, school and church clothes for 3 children; raised those three children; tailored my fathers suits and constructed his around-the-house clothes as well; sewed all of her own clothes; ran errands and drove carpools; budgeted; cleaned house; did yard work; and did everything else that cropped up during the day that required her attention.
How Long Position Held: 53 years
My dad and mom were a team. He worked hard and rose in his career, with my mom's assistance. He would say she was doing the IMPORTANT work. She was caring for home and family. He also had an amazing perception of my mom's role in our family, and I often recounted it when I became a homemaker in the 1980s. He said that for every dollar my mother SAVED (by doing the work herself), that was $2.00 she actually MADE the family, because you are not taxed on the money you SAVE, only on the money you MAKE. That's really crucial. Let me give you that again: For EVERY DOLLAR that my momma SAVED the family by sewing our clothes and cooking our meals, that was actually $2.00 that my momma MADE...because YOU DON'T PAY TAXES ON MONEY YOU SAVE, ONLY ON MONEY YOU MAKE. In my father's eyes (and also in the eyes of her kids) my mom's role was CRUCIAL in our family dynamic.
At the end of this blog, you will find a link to a protest song I wrote and performed at a songwriter event in Baton Rouge, LA, addressing the lack of respect that some people have for homemakers in our society. BEWARE: You will probably be shocked, overwhelmed, AND chagrined by the impact of the lyrics, as you (hopefully) tap your toes to my jazzy melody and bossa nova beat! The tune is entitled Lady of Leisure (which is what my mom called herself, with a wink and a smile).
My mom died on May 25, 1996, of breast cancer. Her name was Luella Dugas Chambers. Mom, this blog is dedicated to you. Thank you for all you did. I hope it will INFORM, INSPIRE, and ENCOURAGE families of today to realize that there ARE alternatives to 2-parents working and children in day care. One parent (of either sex) can be at home SAVING money, doing what my dad (Doyle Chambers) called 'the IMPORTANT work'.
I hope y'all will give a look and listen to the video of my momma's song. Oh, and in case you need clarification, the answer to the question in the title is FALSE!
until next blog, peace and love